Natural Enemies of Pests
Purchasing Insect Predators and Parasites
- Several inset predators and parasites are available for purchase. These include lady beetles, praying mantids, fly parasites, trichogramma wasps, green lacewings, and others.
- Certain insect pathogens, such as Bacillus thuringiensis, and entomopathogenic nematodes, are also frequently used in biological control. Augmentative biological control (i.e., releases of natural enemies) can be especially effective in small-scale production and in greenhouse pest management.
- In the yard and garden, it is important to recognize naturally occurring insect predators and parasitoids. Before making insecticide applications, always check plants to see if the existing beneficial organisms are abundant enough to provide control.
The Use of Flowering Plants by Beneficial Insects
- Many insects that are important for pest management have special food needs during their adult stage.
- The availability of flowering plants that provide these supplementary foods can increase the beneficial activity for natural enemies. See factsheet for a list of plants that are known to have high visitation by beneficial natural enemies.
Many insects, such as lady beetles, green lacewings, and parasitic wasps, feed on pollen and nectar or honeydew, which allows them to survive longer and produce more progeny. These alternative resources are important in maintaining diverse populations of natural enemies when prey is scarce. The availability of flowering plants that provide these supplementary foods can increase the beneficial activity of natural enemies.
CSU Extension Fact Sheet
Download or view the CSU Extension’s PDF fact sheet for your reference.